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Posts tagged ‘Rahab’

Respond to Your Call to Influence.


 

group of women
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The church has not always recognized the spiritual gifts of women. But God has fashioned them to be key players in His kingdom.

Let’s imagine for a moment what the world would be like without women. All the wonderful traits women are capable of providing with exuberance—gentleness, nurture, care, refined beauty—would be missing.

Men possess these same qualities but in smaller supply; women, on the other hand, overflow with them. Without women the world would look like an army base where everything’s painted white or gray and designed for efficiency at the expense of beauty. An awful sense of incompleteness would permeate the planet.

Women have many qualities unique to their gender, one of the grandest being the ability to host life. This privilege to shelter another life at such an intimate level has been granted exclusively to Eve and her daughters.

Women can nurture their newborns through the most intimate interaction between a female adult and a child: breastfeeding. The image of a baby being nursed by a loving mother is a picture of total dependency, perfect care and the most sublime transfer of nurture from one being to another.

Women are also the ones who predominantly shape the character of their children during their crucial early years. They plant tender gestures in the inner layer of a child’s malleable soul and watch as, like the seeds in a flowerbed, the spiritual seeds sprout, spreading beauty over the adult landscape in the form of noble deeds.

When were the seeds planted? During the nurturing years when a child spends most of his time with a woman: his mother!

Jesus’ First Teacher
It was a woman, young Mary, who first heard beating within her the heart of God Incarnate when she was pregnant with Jesus. It was her hands that first touched Jesus’ body and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes.

Think for a moment what this reflects: God Almighty, Creator and Preserver of the universe, took the form of a baby and became dependent on the care of one of His creatures. When God experienced human flesh, with all its limitations, who was there to meet His needs? A woman.

Jesus’ mother, Mary, was His first teacher and also later His first disciple. No other human knew Jesus as intimately as Mary did.

Ponder for a moment the scene at Calvary. While most of Jesus’ frightened disciples hid at a distance, Mary and a group of faithful women gathered at the foot of the cross. Despite the pain and suffering Jesus endured, His last earthly concern was for a woman—His mother.

He could not forget that she had taken care of Him when His earthly life began. And now, as His life was about to end, Jesus lovingly turned her over to the care of His beloved disciple (see John 19:26-27).

Women’s Hall of Fame
Throughout the Bible are inspiring testimonies of other brave and brilliant women who were not mere privates in God’s army but key players who were given pivotal assignments at strategic points and in crucial times.

Moses’ mother challenged the pharaoh’s genocidal decree when she preserved the life of the one who would eventually lead millions of Hebrews to freedom (see Ex. 2).

Rahab held the keys to the taking of Jericho. By turning them in the right direction she assured the fall of the fortress city (see Josh. 2).

Hannah cried out to God for Samuel to be born, and he went on to become the greatest prophet and judge Israel ever knew (see 1 Sam. 1).

Deborah was an illustrious judge and a proven prophetess who delivered Israel from the mighty chariots of Jabin, the oppressing king of Canaan. Another woman, Jael, helped to bring total destruction to Jabin and his leading general, Sisera (see Judges 4-5).

Esther courageously risked her life to save her nation, God’s people, when they were in danger of being exterminated.

Sarah was called “mother of nations” by God Himself (see Gen. 17:16) and is listed among the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11.

Priscilla and her husband, Aquila, instructed and guided Apollos, who had been preaching less-than-perfect theology (see Acts 18: 24-26). The fact that in most tranlations, Priscilla is listed first in this passage signifies the prominence of her role.

On the shoulders of these women—and countless more down through the ages—rested the fate of cities, tribes and nations.

Pillars of the Early Church
One of the main reasons Christianity spread so rapidly in the early years is because its message restored honor and self-worth to half the world’s population: women. Romans had such a low view of women that some men engaged in sex with other men. Jewish rabbis completely silenced women inside the synagogue, and pagans used them as temple prostitutes.

However, early church leaders dignified women by teaching that in Christ “there is neither male nor female” and we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28, NKJV). Women were also given positions of honor and leadership.

Priscilla, for instance, was part of the team that founded the church in Ephesus—site of the greatest power encounter recorded in the book of Acts. She was there, inside the crux of God’s power, when God dethroned Artemis and brought down the demonic socioeconomic structure that had controlled Ephesus.

Throughout the epistles women are unapologetically exalted as pillars of the faith. Paul identified two women as the headwaters of Timothy’s faith: his mother and his grandmother (see 2 Tim. 1:5). In Romans, a letter intended for wide circulation and public reading, Paul praised several women as people of faith and proven ministry (see Rom. 16:1-15).

The first European convert was a woman, Lydia, and hers was the first household to be baptized (see Acts 16:14-15). She was very assertive in her interaction with the apostles: “She begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ So she persuaded us” (v. 15).

Three centuries later, the driving force behind Constantine’s conversion and the subsequent Christianization of the Roman Empire was another woman, Helena, the emperor’s mother.

Extraordinary Sensitivity
Women have an extraordinary sensitivity to spiritual things. I am not saying that they are more godly than men, but I believe they are definitely more spiritual. This is why Jesus was able to reveal two of the most powerful truths in the gospels to women.

He told Martha that He is the resurrection and the life (see John 11:25-27). To the Samaritan woman Jesus explained that He is the living water (see John 4:7-15). These women were in a state of confusion when Jesus found them, but both were able to hear, understand and believe these profound truths.

Rahab: Harlot, Liar… Ancestor of Jesus?.


Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab (Matthew 1:5).

Many first-time Bible readers are surprised to learn that the New Testament begins with a genealogy (Matthew 1:1-16), Jesus’ family tree. Those same readers are even more surprised when Rahab shows up on the list.

Most of us know about her. She is almost always mentioned by in the Bible as “Rahab the harlot.” But that’s not all. Rahab was also a Canaanite-who were the hated enemies of Israel. Her most exemplary deed was telling a lie. Think about that. A Harlot, a Canaanite and a liar. You wouldn’t think she would have much chance of making the list, but there she is.

You can read about Rahab in Joshua 2 and Joshua 6….

It’s a great story with many lessons, but we mustn’t miss the point that Rahab was a harlot. That was her “trade.” The men hid there because people would be accustomed to seeing strangers come and go at all hours of the night. We also can’t deny the fact that Rahab told a bald-faced lie. Is there anything good we can say about her? Yes! She was a woman of faith. You don’t have to take my word for it. Hebrews 11:31 says, “By faith Rahab …” She was a believer!

Many people are intimidated by Jesus ChristThey hook him up with a lot of religious paraphernalia-big sanctuaries, stained glass, beautiful choir, pipe organs, formal prayers, and all the rest. When they look at the trappings, it’s all very intimidating to them. To many in the world today, Jesus seems too good to be true.

This genealogy is in the Bible to let us know that he had a background a lot like yours and mine. He called himself “the friend of sinners,” and he said he didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. He said, “The Son of man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.” (Luke 19:10)

The same grace that Rahab experienced is now available to you. I invite you in Jesus’ name to come and be forgiven. He’s already made the first move. The next step is up to you.


Published here by permission of Keep Believing Ministries.

Ray Pritchard

 

Break Free From a Dark Past Into Your Destiny.


free woman
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One of the most difficult things for people to do is overcome the past. Mental health providers, social service persons, psychiatric practitioners and even the religious community will all attest to the fact that “issues” from the past continue to reverberate and ricochet into the present of most people’s lives, causing a whole range of consequences from toxic relationships to emotional handicaps to even physical illnesses.

The concept isn’t new. We have long recognized that “the child is father of the man” and “what is past is prologue” in our lives. Helping people find a way to cast off the baggage of the past is one of the most difficult tasks in ministry.

Pastors and Christian counselors spend inordinate amounts of time trying to help people let go of the guilt and blame they carry for mistakes of the past and encouraging them to open themselves to the healing and wholeness God has promised for all our lives. This is critical, for without this release of the past, people continue to lead lives filled with pain that is masked but never eliminated. It is much like taking medicine to eradicate the symptoms of a disease but never being healed of the disease itself.

The internal conflict related to the past is nowhere more critical than in the lives of women. More women seem to be afflicted with the burden of the unforgettable and unforgivable past because we make up the largest percentage of the church.

In addition, women are more likely to have certain burdens of the past because society has had a “double standard” of conduct and behavior for women, and women who have “missed the mark” have had their own as well as society’s condemnation to live with.

In spite of the many changes sweeping the world because of the existence of multinational corporations and global economic success, there are still many areas in which the traditional roles of women have not changed. Even with communication and travel bringing the light of modernity to virtually every corner of the globe, we are still often shocked to find those antiquated systems that stifle the personal development of women, limit education and maintain systems that negate basic, human rights—socially, economically, legally.

The church should be a place on which the world system does not intrude. Unfortunately, judgments are too often made about our sisters in Christ that relegate them to positions of inferiority and failure based on subjective criteria. They are “disqualified” from leadership, service, ministry, even full participation in the life of the church based on their past experiences, failures, poor decisions, ethnicity and education.

Disqualified is a word women hear much too often. They are told they don’t “qualify” for the mortgage, the promotion, the job, the membership in the club. Even in church women who desire leadership roles are told they are disqualified by their gender.

And how many women have aspired to be used by God but believe that the past disqualifies them for a future in Him?

Poor choices, questionable lifestyles and a history of “failures” have made many women fail to seek, aspire to, accept or embrace their God-ordained future. They don’t understand that God sees us not as we were nor as we are but as He created us to be: fearfully and wonderfully made in His image, fully engaged, enlightened and empowered by the love of God.

The many women in the Bible prove that God does not disqualify us because of our pasts or for any of the reasons that society does today.

For example, we aren’t disqualified because we are too old. Look at Sarah. We aren’t disqualified because we belong to the wrong ethnic group. Look at Esther. We aren’t disqualified because we are poor. Look at Mary, the mother of Jesus. In today’s world, Ruth would have been an unregistered alien, but God gives her a prominent place in the history of His people.

Rahab’s Story 
And what about Rahab? Perhaps no other story of a woman in the Bible is as powerful a testimony of redemption and grace as the story of Rahab, the harlot of Jericho.

According to both our current standards and the standards of her times, Rahab was a “fallen” woman. She practiced a despised profession in the city of Jericho, a city that had been cursed for the inhospitable way it had treated the children of Israel as they passed on their way from the wilderness to the Promised Land. Rahab had so many strikes against her that anyone looking at her life would believe there was no hope for a positive future.

But this woman became a savior of her family and played an important part in the military conquest of the city by the Jews. In addition she became an ancestor of Jesus. Her life is a powerful illustration of the redemption Christ provides to us and how He can give power and purpose to the most negative life.

The Bible says that Rahab was a professional harlot. She was so well known and successful that her “house” was perched high on the city walls–the famous Walls of Jericho.

We can determine from the Scriptures that her house was a gathering place for all different kinds and classes of men. No doubt men of all ages and occupations passed through her house: merchants, soldiers, students, scholars and travelers from distant lands.

As she entertained these men and the after-dinner wine began to flow, she no doubt heard stories about the invisible God of the Jews who fights against those who fight against His people. He was depicted as a warrior God who fights with fire and hail and thunder, who changes the course of rivers, brings down cities, and sweeps all before Him—even pharaohs and kings—for His peoples’ sake.

The guests speak in fearful whispers, saying that this band of Jehovah-worshipers is marching 2 million strong toward her land and moving toward her very city! The information becomes crystal clear when a group of men show up at her house. By their unfamiliar clothing and strange ways Rahab concludes they must be a scouting party of the very enemy she has heard so much about.

But Rahab, believing the reports of this strange God, Jehovah, is moved to help the spies. She agrees to hide the men from the soldiers of Jericho who are pursuing them. She hides them in a basket on the roof of her house, and as soon as she has sent the soldiers away in a wrong direction, she lets the men down in a basket outside the city walls.

Rahab saves the spies, but in so doing, she makes a powerful agreement with them. She asks them to remember her, her parents, her siblings and all that pertains to them to save them when the Jews invade the city.

The Jews tell her she must hang a scarlet cloth from her window high up on the wall as a signal to the invading army. They will pass by her house if they see the red cloth, and everyone in the house will be spared. In this way Rahab became not only the salvation of her own family but also an Old Testament typology of Christ, the Savior.

There are two compelling life-lessons to learn here. One is that God can and will use us as the instruments of salvation for our loved ones. The other is that God does not count our past when He is planning our future!

The end of Rahab’s life is a powerful story of faith, trust, salvation and service. God bestows a tremendous honor on a woman with a bad reputation.

Rahab, the harlot, marries into the aristocracy of the Jews. She becomes Boaz’s mother and the great- great-grandmother of David, the greatest king in the history of Israel. But even more important than that, the genealogy of Jesus listed in the book of

Matthew traces Jesus’ ancestors back to Rahab! She is an honored ancestor of Jesus, the Christ.

My sisters, be encouraged. We cannot imagine where our lives in God will lead us! You can draw strength, joy and self-esteem from this wonderful account of Rahab’s life.

Remember that God is no respecter of persons. He places His gifts and anointing in a person, not in a pedigree. He honors character, integrity, commitment, a pure heart and honest motives—not the résumés of our lives, good or bad.

Nothing in our pasts can disqualify us for a positive, promising and powerful future in God because God’s plans for our future cancel out the failures of the past.

Rahab’s life was abundantly blessed with an unexpected future because she uprooted herself based on the spies’ description of their God. Her life tells us that in order to cancel our pasts, it is sometimes necessary to leave familiar situations, surroundings and people to truly find our places in God.

Rahab’s story also shows the power of a positive testimony. The spies talked about their God in such a way as to make Rahab want to leave all to follow Him. We don’t know when the words we speak about our relationship with God will touch others so powerfully that they, like Rahab, will want to change their lives, surrender their pasts and leave all to follow Him into a bright new future.

Her life shows us too that God will give us opportunities to make choices that will determine our destinies. When we make the right ones, we will walk away from our past into a glorious future of power, purpose and praise.

God doesn’t want us to be bound by society’s or the church’s ideas of what women can do; nor does He want us to be held back by our own guilt and shame. It’s time to let go of all the things that hold you back and step into your true destiny!

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

Winifred W. Morris is the wife of Bishop Ernest C. Morris Sr. of Mount Airy Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia. Affectionately known as Mother Winifred, she is president of the missionary department, women’s fellowship, and the department of women’s ministries.

 

Deflating Pride.


Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dugIsaiah 51:1

In the Hebrew text, the word quarry actually refers to “a hole.” The old King James Version doesn’t miss it far: “the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.”

Never forget “the hole of the pit.”

What excellent advice! Before we get all enamored with our high-and-mighty importance, it’s a good idea to take a backward glance at the “hole of the pit” from which Christ lifted us.

And let’s not just think about it; let’s admit it. Our “hole of the pit” has a way of keeping us all on the same level—recipients of grace.

And don’t kid yourself—even those who are extolled and admired have “holes” from which they were dug.

  • With Moses, it was murder.
  • With Peter, it was public denial.
  • With Rahab, it was prostitution.

The next time we’re tempted to become puffed up by our own importance, let’s just look back to the pit from which we were dug. It has a way of deflating our pride.

by Charles R. Swindoll

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Listen to today’s broadcast of Insight for Living with Chuck Swindoll at OnePlace.com.
Visit the Bible-teaching ministry of Chuck Swindoll at www.insight.org.

Christmas is for Outcasts.


“Judah, the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar… Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was RuthDavid was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife… and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah” (Matt. 1:3, 5, 6, 16).

Ancient genealogies often did not include any mothers’ names. Fathers alone were sufficient to demonstrate someone’s lineage. So why do five mothers appear, nestled within the forty-two generations Matthew provides to connect Jesus with David and Abraham (cf. v. 1)? Some have suggested it was because the first four were Gentiles, for whom the Messiah came as well as for Jews. But Mary’s Jewish credentials were impeccable. Others suggest it was because of sexual sin on the part of all of them, but this requires disbelieving the story of the virginal conception and putting the worst possible spin on Ruth’s coming to Boaz in the middle of the night at the threshing floor, which was more likely her proposal of marriage. What all five did have in common, however, was the suspicion of illegitimate sexual behavior and the stigma attached to that, whether or not it was deserved. Tamar played the prostitute once, with Jacob, to raise up an heir. Rahab was a prostitute. Not all would have believed that Boaz and Ruth remained pure that night. Bathsheba was the victim of David’s adultery. And Mary’s story was far more incredible than Ruth’s in the minds of many.

I published a short article on Matthew 1-2 that includes this material, expanded, in the Biblical Theology Bulletin way back in 1991, so I will not elaborate it here. But what are we to make of this as part of the Christmas story, especially this time of year? The answer is clear, as all of his ministry would corroborate:Jesus is a Messiah for outcasts, whether or not they deserve the stigma others attach to them.

Growing up in a wonderful Christian home, I have almost exclusively happy memories of Christmastime. It was a family time, often involving relatives we saw only once or twice a year. It was a time filled with lots of “warm fuzzies.” Although my parents were very generous to a variety of poorer friends and in giving to charities that cared for the poor, Christmas was not a time during which we involved them in our lives.

My first three years of married life were also the first three in which neither my wife’s nor my families were with us at Christmas, because we had moved to Scotland for grad school. It was there that we first learned about celebrating the holiday with others who had no families accessible. In the years since, Christmas day gatherings have been very unpredictable—sometimes with extended family, sometimes just with a few close friends, sometimes with a big gathering of “castaways,” and sometimes mixing “castaways” with close friends—often an adventure, sometimes a challenge, and seldom a dull moment. One constant has been that my wife’s and my relatives have always remained far enough away that we have not automatically been with them at Christmastime. When we haven’t, we then ask, “Then who?” And we’ve asked that sometimes even when we have been with them, at least when it’s been on “our turf.”

What does your Christmas portend this year? If you have the choice, try to include some folks who can’t be guaranteed “warm fuzzies” at Christmas and try to give them some. They’re the kind of people who made it into Jesus’ genealogy. They’re the kind of people Matthew went out of his way to have us remember in his Christmas story.

Perhaps that’s part of what it means to wish each other a “Merry Christmas.”

By Craig Blomberg


Check out our Christmas Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LuvChristmas.

Seeing Red: A Look From the Wall.


And [Rahab] sent them [the Israelite spies] away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window. Joshua 2:21
Recommended Reading Hebrews 11:30-31 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%2011:30-31&version=NKJV )
When Joshua was ready to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, he chose two men and sent them to spy out the land–and especially the city of Jericho: “When you get to Jericho, find a local prostitute and spend the night in her house.

You will be less conspicuous that way.”

No, that is definitely  not  what Joshua told the spies.

He didn’t tell them where to stay–he left that to their discretion and God‘s provision.
Watch This Week’s TV Broadcast ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/television.aspx?tid=email_watchedevo )
When the spies entered Jericho and met Rahab–who was, indeed, a prostitute in the city–they discovered a unique person.

She had an immoral lifestyle, she lied to the officials of Jericho about the men being in her house, but she also had a striking spiritual sensibility.

She knew God was going to give Jericho over to the Israelite army, and she didn’t want to perish with the city, so she made a bargain with the spies and remained safe by binding a scarlet cord in the window on the city wall. F

or her faithfulness, the spies agreed her house and family would be spared in the attack.

We should never anticipate  how  God is going to accomplish His purposes.

His ways are not ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). We should prepare to be surprised and submissive to His will.

God’s ways are behind the scenes, but He moves all the scenes which He is behind. John Nelson Darby
Read-Thru-the-Bible Proverbs 21:1–26:28.

By David Jeremiah.

Rahab the Prostitute.


Rahab Hiding the Two SpiesRahab Helping the Two Israelite Spies by Frederick Richard Pickersgill(1897).Image: Public Domain

Profile of Rahab, Spy for the Israelites.

Rahab was one of those unexpected characters in the Bible.

Even though she made her living as a prostitute, she was selected for high honor in the Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11.

She heard about the God of Israel and recognized him as the true God, the One worth risking your life for.

And she did risk her life for him.

The Jews finally entered the Promised Land of Canaan after wandering 40 years in the desert.

Moses had died and they were now led by Joshua, a mighty warrior.

Joshua secretly sent two spies to scout out the fortified city of Jericho.

Rahab ran an inn built on the Jericho city wall where she hid the spies on her roof top.

When the king of Jericho learned the men had been to Rahab’s house, he sent orders for her to turn them over.

She lied to the king’s soldiers concerning the whereabouts of the spies, and sent them off in the opposite direction.

Then Rahab went up to the spies and pleaded for her life and for the lives of her family members.

She made an oath with them.

Rahab would keep silent about their mission and the Israelites would spare everyone in her household when they invaded the city.

She was to hang a scarlet cord from her window as a sign, so the Jews could find and protect her.

In the miraculous battle of Jericho, the invincible city did fall.

Joshua gave orders to rescue Rahab and all in her house.

She and her family were adopted by the Jews and stayed with them.

Rahab’s Accomplishments:

Rahab recognized the true God and took him for her own.

She was an ancestor of both King David and Jesus Christ.

She earned mention in the Faith Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11:31).

Rahab’s Strengths:

Rahab was loyal to Israel and faithful to her word.

She was resourceful in an emergency.

Rahab’s Weakness:

She was a prostitute.

Life Lessons:

Some scholars believe the red cord Rahab hung from her window represents sacrificial blood, the blood of animals in the Old Testament and the blood of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

Rahab had heard stories of how the Lord delivered the Jews from the hand of their enemy.

She declared her faith in the one true God.

Rahab learned that following him will change your life forever.

God judges us differently than people judge us.

Hometown:

Jericho.

Referenced in the Bible:

Joshua 2:1-21; 6:17, 22, 23, 25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25.

Occupation:

Prostitute and innkeeper.

Family Tree:

Son: Boaz

Great grandson: King David

Ancestor of: Jesus Christ

Key Verses:

Joshua 2:11
…for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. (NIV)

Joshua 6:25
But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho–and she lives among the Israelites to this day. (NIV)

Hebrews 11:31
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. (NIV)

Discover Your Personal Battle Plan.


Woman WarrioeBEFORE YOU CONQUER YOUR JERICHO, YOU MUST SEEK GOD FOR HIS WAR STRATEGY.

Joshua never had to face the kind of fearsome threats that challenge believers today.

When he led Israel into the promised land, he didn’t have to worry about the likes of Saddam Hussein, chemical weapons or suicide bombers.

On the home front, he didn’t have to concern himself with job layoffs, rising gas prices, a shaky stock market or the loss of his retirement portfolio.

But Joshua did have to face his own set of giants.

Just across the Jordan River were real threats that had many of his fellow Israelites shaking in their boots.

How did he approach these giants and ultimately defeat them?.

By pressing into the Lord to gain a fresh strategy for each new battle.

In the perilous times in which we live, many people are filled with fear.

There are giants in the land.

As Christians we need to follow Joshua’s example.

By seeking God each day for fresh words of divine strategy for ourselves, our families and our nation, we can defeat the giants.

DON’T BELIEVE THE BAD REPORT

Before the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the promised land, Moses sent a team of 12 men to spy out the territory.

When the spies returned, 10 of them gave a fear-filled report.

They had seen giants in the land.

Next to these giants, they had seemed like mere grasshoppers.

Israel could never go up against them and win.

But two spies—Joshua and Caleb—came to a different conclusion.

Yes, the giants were big and strong, they said; but they could take the land because the God of Israel was more powerful than any giant.

Unfortunately, the people of Israel chose to believe the report of fear.

Never mind that they’d witnessed God’s powerful signs and wonders during the course of their escape from Egypt.

Their “grasshopper mentality” resulted in their refusal to battle the giants and take the land God wanted to give them.

Instead they wandered aimlessly in the wilderness for 40 years.

Joshua ended up leading an entirely new generation into the promised land.

When we look at the dangers facing us in the world today, do they appear to be giants, while we seem like grasshoppers?.

Or do we, like Joshua, have faith that our omnipotent God is greater than any enemy we might encounter?

JOSHUA’S SECRET: THE SECRET PLACE

Joshua spent 40 years in the wilderness with the rest of the nation of Israel.

His time was not wasted, however.

He spent his days in the “secret place” of God’s presence, getting to know the Lord in an intimate way.

Whenever Moses went into the Tent of Meeting to meet with the Lord, Joshua would linger nearby (see Ex. 33:11).

Joshua loved being near the presence and the glory of God.

God used this wilderness period in Joshua’s life to prepare him for the monumental battles that lay ahead.

By the time he was chosen to be Israel’s new leader, he was known as “a man in whom is the spirit” (Num. 27:18).

To overthrow the giants, Joshua would need to draw on the intimate relationship with God that he’d developed in the desert.

He would need to seek fresh revelation on a daily basis.

GOD’S WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS

On their way into the promised land, the Israelites faced many challenges.

Yet with each new challenge, God gave Joshua a unique strategy for success.

Many of the strategies didn’t make sense from a military perspective.

But as Joshua and the people followed God’s ways and not their own, they experienced victory.

The first challenge came before Israel even crossed the Jordan.

Under God’s divine guidance, Joshua sent two men to spy out Jericho, the first city that Israel would have to conquer.

Once inside the city walls, the two spies were directed by the Lord to a very unlikely hiding place: the home of Rahab the prostitute.

It was probably the last place the men expected God to send them.

But the Lord knew that Rahab was the one person in Jericho who would take them in.

Because the spies followed God’s unusual strategy, they were kept safe.

In the process, Rahab came to faith in God and was saved from Jericho’s destruction.

When the spies returned to Joshua, they were flush with victory.

They immediately filed this faith-filled report: “Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are faint-hearted because of us” (Josh. 2:24, NKJV).

With that first challenge successfully behind him, Joshua moved on to the next one: how to get the entire population of Israel across the Jordan.

The timing could not have been worse.

It was flood season, and the river was overflowing its banks.

Joshua could have said, “Lord, can’t we just wait a little longer, until the waters recede?”

Instead he listened for God’s divine strategy.

The Lord’s instructions were specific.

First, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant would step into the river.

As their feet touched the water, the current would be held back supernaturally, and the rest of Israel would cross on dry land.

The priests would remain in the riverbed until Joshua appointed one man from each tribe to pick up a stone from the spot where the priests were standing.

Then the stones would be used to build an altar to God so that, as Joshua declared, “all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty” (Josh. 4:24).

Israel’s supernatural crossing of the Jordan made a powerful impression on their enemies.

According to Joshua 5:1, “their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel.”

WHEN WE’RE WEAK, HE’S STRONG

The Israelites must have been thrilled with their success and eager to hear God’s next miracle strategy.

But the divine instruction that followed was probably not a welcome one.

That generation had been born in the wilderness, and the men had never been circumcised.

Now God said each man would need to be identified as a child of Abraham, qualified for covenant blessing, through the act of circumcision.

Here they were, about to go into battle to take the city of Jericho, and the Lord was commanding them to do something painful, something that would make them vulnerable and weak!

How could they defeat Jericho if they could barely walk?

But God’s strategy was perfect.

He would show Himself strong in their weakness.

Circumcision was only the first step.

Through a special visitation from heaven, Joshua was given more divine instructions that must have stumped Israel’s military minds.

Can you imagine this scene? Joshua, Israel’s fearless leader, steps up to the platform.

A cheer goes up.

He clears his throat.

“The good news is, the Commander of the Lord’s army has just appeared to me,” he says.

The people whoop and yell, waving their shields and jabbing the air with their swords.

Then he continues: “The bad news is, He gave me the battle plan.” Kicking the sand with his toe, he mumbles, “Uh, priests march, trumpets blow, everyone shouts, walls fall down.”

The confused soldiers scratch their heads.

No commander on Earth would plan for a battle like that!

True. The strategies that God gave Joshua for overcoming obstacles and defeating giants were, to say the least, unusual and creative.

Yet the Lord knew the timing and strategy necessary for each victory.

When Joshua and the people trusted the Lord’s wisdom above their own and obeyed His direction, God moved with supernatural power to bring them to victory.

SLAYING OUR OWN GIANTS.

Like Joshua, you and I are challenged by many giants.

New and potent dangers are all around us, both in the world and in our personal lives.

But we don’t have to shrink in fear.

Just as God guided Israel supernaturally, He will also guide us if we learn to be like Joshua and seek Him on a daily basis.

We can have fresh revelation and know God’s divine strategy for each new battle—no matter how big or how powerful the enemy might be.

How do we do this? Here are eight keys:

1. Return to your first love.

Spend intimate time alone with God—not attending church, not serving in ministry, not reading the current Christian best seller.

Be together, just the two of you.

Cut fluff from your schedule.

Lop off any areas of your life that don’t correspond with God-given assignments.

Spend long hours waiting in His presence.

2. Intercede.

Through prayer, fasting and worship, go into the heavenly war room and get fresh strategies and weapons for each day’s new battles.

Take comfort knowing that Jesus “always lives to make intercession” for you (Heb. 7:25).

3. Lay aside differences.

Do a personal inventory of your relationships with family and friends.

Where necessary, relinquish your rights, forgive and love one another as an act of worship to God.

4. Trust Jesus.

Identify your fears.

Do you see yourself as more than a conqueror, or are you a grasshopper hiding in the giant’s shadow?

The issue is your trust in Christ’s eternal character.

Ask the Lord to show you the strongholds of fear in your life and how, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you can bring them down.

5. Have an ear to hear.

Hearing the voice of God is a survival mechanism for us all.

The Lord promises that His sheep will hear His voice and follow Him (see John 10:3-4).

Press in to hear the voice of God, confident that He wants to speak words of deliverance to you.

6. Rest in Him.

Did you know that rest is a form of spiritual warfare?.

Isaiah 30:15 says, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.

” God wants to give you rest and peace in the midst of turbulent times.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Jesus promised (Matt.11:28).

7. Ask for the lost.

Ask God how to knock down the fortified walls in your heart and in your world.

And while you’re at it, ask Him to show you the Rahabs in your workplace, school or community that He wants to pluck from the rubble.

Don’t be surprised if He uses them to communicate divine strategies that will save your life as well as theirs.

8. Feed your spirit on the goodness of God.

Meditate on Psalm 91 and keep a journal of God’s faithfulness in your life.

Remember His faithfulness as you approach each new battle.

Declare that by grace and faith in the finished work of Jesus, you are an overcomer.

God will crush the enemy under your feet!

He has done it before; He will do it again.

Before Joshua led the Israelites into the promised land, the Lord told him: “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you…

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:3,9).

You and I have that same promise today.

Don’t be afraid!

Our giants are nothing more than grasshoppers in the eyes of our omnipotent God.

By Jill Austin.

Battle of Jericho – Bible Story Summary.


God Performs a Miracle in the Battle of Jericho


Ancient Wall Similar to Jericho WallsJoshua obeyed and God brought Jericho’s walls down.

Image: © T/Maker Company

Scripture Reference:

Joshua 1:1 – 6:25

Battle of Jericho – Story Summary:

The battle of Jericho featured one of the most astounding miracles in the Bible, proving that God stood with the Israelites.

After the death of Moses, God chose Joshua, son of Nun, to be the leader of the Israelite people.

They set about to conquer the land of Canaan, under the Lord’s guidance.

God said to Joshua, “Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NIV).

Spies from the Israelites sneaked into the walled city of Jericho and stayed at the house of Rahab, a prostitute.

But Rahab had faith in God.

She hid the spies from the king’s soldiers, and when the time was right, she helped the spies escape out a window and down a rope, since her house was built into the city wall.

Rahab made the spies swear an oath.

She promised not to give their plans away, and in return they swore to spare Rahab and her family when the battle of Jericho began.

She was to tie a scarlet cord in her window as a sign of their protection.

Meanwhile, the Israelite people continued to move into Canaan.

God commanded Joshua to have the priests carry the ark of the covenant into the center of the Jordan River, which was at flood stage.

As soon as they stepped into the river, the water stopped flowing.

It piled up in heaps upstream and downstream, so the people could cross on dry ground.

God performed a miracle for Joshua, just as he had done for Moses, by parting the Red Sea.

God had a strange plan for the battle of Jericho.

He told Joshua to have the armed men march around the city once each day, for six days.

The priests were to carry the ark, blowing trumpets, but the soldiers were to keep silent.

On the seventh day, the assembly marched around the walls of Jericho seven times.

Joshua told them that by God’s order, every living thing in the city must be destroyed, except Rahab and her family.

All articles of silver, gold, bronze and iron were to go into the Lord’s treasury.

At Joshua’s command, the men gave a great shout, and Jericho’s walls fell down flat!

The Israelite army rushed in and conquered the city.

Only Rahab and her family were spared.

Points of Interest from the Battle of Jericho Story:

• Joshua felt unqualified for the monumental task of taking over for Moses, but God promised to be with him every step of the way, just as he had been for Moses.

This same God is with us today, protecting and guiding us.

• Rahab the prostitute made the right choice.

She went with God, instead of the evil people of Jericho.

Joshua spared Rahab and her family in the battle of Jericho.

In the New Testament, we learn that God favored her by making Rahab one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World.

• Joshua’s strict obedience to God is a key lesson from this story. At every turn Joshua did exactly as he was told and the Israelites prospered under his leadership.

An ongoing theme in the Old Testament is that when the Jews obeyed God, they did well.

When they disobeyed, the consequences were bad.

The same is true for us today.

• As Moses’ apprentice, Joshua learned firsthand that he wouldn’t always understand God’s ways.

Human nature sometimes made Joshua want to question God’s plans, but instead he chose to obey and watch what happened.

Joshua is an excellent example of humility before God.

Questions for Reflection:

Joshua’s strong faith in God led him to obey, no matter how illogical God’s command might be.

Joshua also drew from the past, remembering the impossible deeds God had accomplished through Moses.

Do you trust God with your life?.

Have you forgotten how he brought you through past troubles?.

God has not changed.

He promises to be with you wherever you go.

 

THE THIRD DAY.


Up to this time the earth was a plain, and wholly covered with water. Scarcely had the words of God, “Let the waters be gathered together,” made themselves heard, when mountains appeared all over and hills, and the water collected in the deep-lying basins. But the water was recalcitrant, it resisted the order to occupy the lowly spots, and threatened to overflow the earth, until God forced it back into the sea, and encircled the sea with sand. Now, whenever the water is tempted to transgress its bounds, it beholds the sand, and recoils.

The waters did but imitate their chief Rahab, the Angel of the Sea, who rebelled at the creation of the world. God had commanded Rahab to take in the water. But he refused, saying, “I have enough.” The punishment for his disobedience was death. His body rests in the depths of the sea, the water dispelling the foul odor that emanates from it.

The main creation of the third day was the realm of plants, the terrestrial plants as well as the plants of Paradise. First of all the cedars of Lebanon and the other great trees were made. In their pride at having been put first, they shot up high in the air. They considered themselves the favored among plants. Then God spake, “I hate arrogance and pride, for I alone am exalted, and none beside,” and He created the iron on the same day, the substance with which trees are felled down. The trees began to weep, and when God asked the reason of their tears, they said: “We cry because Thou hast created the iron to uproot us therewith. All the while we had thought ourselves the highest of the earth, and now the iron, our destroyer, has been called into existence.” God replied: “You yourselves will furnish the axe with a handle. Without your assistance the iron will not be able to do aught against you.”

The command to bear seed after their kind was given to the trees alone. But the various sorts of grass reasoned, that if God had not desired divisions according to classes, He would not have instructed the trees to bear fruit after their kind with the seed thereof in it, especially as trees are inclined of their own accord to divide themselves into species. The grasses therefore reproduced themselves also after their kinds. This prompted the exclamation of the Prince of the World, “Let the glory of the Lord endure forever; let the Lord rejoice in His works.”

The most important work done on the third day was the creation of Paradise. Two gates of carbuncle form the entrance to Paradise, and sixty myriads of ministering angels keep watch over them. Each of these angels shines with the lustre of the heavens. When the just man appears before the gates, the clothes in which he was buried are taken off him, and the angels array him in seven garments of clouds of glory, and place upon his head two crowns, one of precious stones and pearls, the other of gold of Parvaim, and they put eight myrtles in his hand, and they utter praises before him and say to him, “Go thy way, and eat thy bread with joy.” And they lead him to a place full of rivers, surrounded by eight hundred kinds of roses and myrtles. Each one has a canopy according to his merits, and under it flow four rivers, one of milk, the other of balsam, the third of wine, and the fourth of honey. Every canopy is overgrown by a vine of gold, and thirty pearls hang from it, each of them shining like Venus. Under each canopy there is a table of precious stones and pearls, and sixty angels stand at the head of every just man, saying unto him: “Go and eat with joy of the honey, for thou hast busied thyself with the Torah, and she is sweeter than honey, and drink of the wine preserved in the grape since the six days of creation, for thou hast busied thyself with the Torah, and she is compared to wine.” The least fair of the just is beautiful as Joseph and Rabbi Johanan, and as the grains of a silver pomegranate upon which fall the rays of the sun. There is no light, “for the light of the righteous is the shining light.” And they undergo four transformations every day, passing through four states. In the first the righteous is changed into a child. He enters the division for children, and tastes the joys of childhood. Then he is changed into a youth, and enters the division for the youths, with whom he enjoys the delights of youth. Next he becomes an adult, in the prime of life, and he enters the division of men, and enjoys the pleasures of manhood. Finally, he is changed into an old man. He enters the division for the old, and enjoys the pleasures of age.

There are eighty myriads of trees in every corner of Paradise, the meanest among them choicer than all the spice trees. In every corner there are sixty myriads of angels singing with sweet voices, and the tree of life stands in the middle and shades the whole of Paradise. It has fifteen thousand tastes, each different from the other, and the perfumes thereof vary likewise. Over it hang seven clouds of glory, and winds blow upon it from all four sides, so that its odor is wafted from one end of the world to the other. Underneath sit the scholars and explain the Torah. Over each of them two canopies are spread, one of stars, the other of sun and moon, and a curtain of clouds of glory separates the one canopy from the other. Beyond Paradise begins Eden, containing three hundred and ten worlds and seven compartments for seven different classes of the pious. In the first are “the martyr victims of the government,” like Rabbi Akiba and his colleagues; in the second those who were drowned; in the third Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai and his disciples; in the fourth those who were carried off in the cloud of glory; in the fifth the penitents, who occupy a place which even a perfectly pious man cannot obtain; in the sixth are the youths who have not tasted of sin in their lives; in the seventh are those poor who studied Bible and Mishnah, and led a life of self-respecting decency. And God sits in the midst of them and expounds the Torah to them.

As for the seven divisions of Paradise, each of them is twelve myriads of miles in width and twelve myriads of miles in length. In the first division dwell the proselytes who embraced Judaism of their own free will, not from compulsion. The walls are of glass and the wainscoting of cedar. The prophet Obadiah, himself a proselyte, is the overseer of this first division. The second division is built of silver, and the wainscoting thereof is of cedar. Here dwell those who have repented, and Manasseh, the penitent son of Hezekiah, presides over them. The third division is built of silver and gold. Here dwell Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the Israelites who came out of Egypt, and the whole generation that lived in the desert. Also David is there, together with all his sons except Absalom, one of them, Chileab, still alive. And all the kings of Judah are there, with the exception of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, who presides in the second division, over the penitents. Moses and Aaron preside over the third division. Here are precious vessels of silver and gold and jewels and canopies and beds and thrones and lamps, of gold, of precious stones, and of pearls, the best of everything there is in heaven. The fourth division is built of beautiful rubies, and its wainscoting is of olive wood. Here dwell the perfect and the steadfast in faith, and their wainscoting is of olive wood, because their lives were bitter as olives to them. The fifth division is built of silver and gold and refined gold, and the finest of gold and glass and bdellium, and through the midst of it flows the river Gihon. The wainscoting is of silver and gold, and a perfume breathes through it more exquisite than the perfume of Lebanon. The coverings of the silver and gold beds are made of purple and blue, woven by Eve, and of scarlet and the hair of goats, woven by angels. Here dwells the Messiah on a palanquin made of the wood of Lebanon, “the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom of gold, the seat of it purple.” With him is Elijah. He takes the head of Messiah, and places it in his bosom, and says to him, “Be quiet, for the end draweth nigh.” On every Monday and Thursday and on Sabbaths and holidays, the Patriarchs come to him, and the twelve sons of Jacob, and Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, and all the kings of Israel and of Judah, and they weep with him and comfort him, and say unto him, “Be quiet and put trust in thy Creator, for the end draweth nigh. “Also Korah and his company, and Dathan, Abiram, and Absalom come to him on every Wednesday, and ask him: “How long before the end comes full of wonders? When wilt thou bring us life again, and from the abysses of the earth lift us?” The Messiah answers them, “Go to your fathers and ask them”; and when they hear this, they are ashamed, and do not ask their fathers.

In the sixth division dwell those who died in performing a pious act, and in the seventh division those who died from illness inflicted as an expiation for the sins of Israel.

By Louis Ginzberg

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